Are you ready for some football — in the future? What will the game we know and love look like 25 years down the road? A science fiction writer, and NFL fan, offers his view of what lies ahead.
Expanding the league
Welcome inside Rogers Centre here in Toronto, Canada where it’s a balmy 75 degrees. We’re proud to bring you Superbowl LXVI where the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Mexico City Matadors.
The NFL is prepared to expand their franchises to cities outside the U.S., and while this is reportedly “not on the front burner right now,” it’s likely to happen within the next 25 years. Unlike the MLB and NBA, whose teams play multiple games each week, NFL teams play just once, which makes long distance travel more practical.
NFL spokesman Mike Signora on the expansion: “We can envision one day having NFL franchises beyond the borders of the United States, and the structure of our schedule, playing games on a weekly basis, perhaps puts us in a unique position to accomplish this on a truly global scale.”
Helmets that report your condition
Steelers with the ball, 1st and 10 at their 29. Sawyer goes back to throw, pump fake, looking for the open man … sacked by Wyatt, who drives him into the ground. Sawyer’s back up. Looks like he got his bell rung, but he’s signaling that he’s OK. Offensive coordinator Frank DelMonico is checking the HealthTracker stats and … no, he doesn’t like what he sees. He’s calling Sawyer off the field.
“Sideline Response System” technology is already being tested in the NCAA. These “bionic helmets” can measure heart rate, body temperature and force of impact, and send that information back to coaches. NFL teams of the future will receive a steady stream of vital statistics — including blood pressure, oxygen level, adrenaline, etc. — helping them keep their players safe.
Tracking who’s in the zone
That’s the third interception for Coleman. Can you say “in the zone?” Check out the flow metrics on his mental state, he’s been over 95 percent focus all day, operating at the very peak of his abilities.
How far or close he is to these “peak performance” conditions could be sent to the coaches as part of the Sideline Response System, allowing teams to use their players at their best, improving the game’s overall quality.
Mexico City is bringing Barlow in to return the punt, and if you’ve not been following the Matadors this season, you’ve been missing out on the league’s fastest player. This kid was setting new sprinting records back at UCLA, and that was before they put him on the Performance Enhancement Program. Now defenders say it’s like trying to catch lightning.
Now that we’ve mapped the human genome, we’re on the cusp of redefining what’s possible with astonishing medical breakthroughs. That includes the potential for safer (or even perfectly safe) anabolic steroids, but isn’t limited to this, as there are sure to be a variety of ways to “hack” your body for greater performance.
For example, RNA interference (sometimes called “gene silencing”) could temporarily inhibit a player’s pain receptors, allowing him to keep his focus when injured or at the brink of exhaustion. These technologies are sure to be controversial, but if they’re proven safe and made available to all players, then no one will have an unfair competitive advantage. Will it be allowed? It’s hard to say.
But the NFL is willing to explore those possibilities once they arise. Spokesman Mike Signora: “Our policies, including the policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances, continue to evolve. Our list of banned substances adapts to changing technology and advances in science. That will continue to be the case as we go forward.”
CSN: The Super Bowl's golden anniversary will be held in the Golden State. The new stadium, which opens in 2014, in Santa Clara will host Super Bowl L two years later, the NFL announced Tuesday.
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